14 September 2016, Brussels
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European Commission copyright proposal risks turning
back the clock on Digital Single Market

The European Commission risks turning back the clock on the Digital Single Market, following the publication of a regressive proposal to amend Europe’s copyright framework.  

When announcing its much-lauded Digital Single Market strategy in 2015, the European Commission committed to empower the Internet as an engine of European economic growth.

But in today’s copyright ‘modernisation’ proposal, the Commission has instead rocked the legal foundations of Europe’s digital economy - namely the intermediary liability safe harbours of the E-Commerce Directive - and has put a chill on information society innovation – by paving the way for the introduction of news article ‘snippet taxes’ across Europe.

We note with concern that the European Commission is seeking:

  • to force hosting sites to monitor user-uploads for similarity to works where media companies claim copyright, and empower those companies to prevent the upload from working;
  • to give media companies a new power to control the distribution of news articles for 20 years.

Meanwhile, photographers are left at risk of being sued for copyright infringement by architects when they take a photo with a building in the background; the Commission has passed up the opportunity to introduce a so-called 'panorama' exception to fix this problem.

Taken together, these issues point to a legislative proposal which contains little progressive measures for digital citizens and providers of innovative online services.

EuroISPA has consistently advocated for a copyright framework that supports consumer rights and promotes the development of innovative, crowd-based online services – the kind of reforms that could open up a true Digital Single Market. 

Unfortunately, the European Commission today rejected the opportunity to make Europe a regulatory leader in this regard.

We look forward to supporting the European Parliament and the EU Council as they scrutinise and amend the legislative proposal in the coming months. EuroISPA remains a committed partner in the EU Institutions' desire to realise a Digital Single Market and will provide technical insight to advance that cause at every juncture.

About EuroISPA:

EuroISPA is the world’s largest association of Internet Services Providers (ISPs) representing the interests of more than 2500 ISPs across the EU and the EFTA countries. EuroISPA is a major voice of the Internet industry on information society subjects such as cybercrime, data protection, e-commerce regulation, EU telecommunications law and safe use of the Internet. Contact: Secretariat (+32 2 550.41.14/

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